Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s 5th Annual Wine Women & Shoes 2017 Fundraiser Was a ‘Mad’ Success

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April 04, 2017
Wine, fashion, food and fun highlighted this festive charity event
MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (March 20, 2017) – Nearly 1,500 fun-loving ladies and gents went absolutely “mad as hatters” all along the Northwest Florida Gulf coast, making Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s 5th annual Wine Women & Shoes series of fundraising events the most successful yet.
The fifth annual charity extravaganza — lead by Sinfonia Gulf Coast Director of Operations & Events Elaine Tucker and co-chaired by Demetria McNeese and Velia Lala — was an artful celebration of wine, fashion, food and fun benefitting Sinfonia Gulf Coast — the only fully professional non-profit orchestra on the Emerald Coast founded in 2005 by music and artistic director Demetrius Fuller.
Each event was either sold out or nearly at capacity and when all of the ticket sales, donations, raffle entries, silent auction bids, paddle raise pledges were tallied, $540,000 was raised to benefit Sinfonia Gulf Coast and its music education programs. Namely, musicians/guest artists in schools, free orchestra concerts, bus transportation for students, the Sinfonia Youth Orchestra program, an Arts in Medicine initiative with Sacred Heart Hospital and LINK UP concerts with third through fifth graders in partnership with Carnegie Hall.
The playful theme was announced at a fall garden party at Clay Garden & Gifts in South Walton and the event kicked off with a Sole Sister Lunch & Fashion Preview at Bijoux in Miramar Beach in January. Then, February 17-19, guests played into the Mad Hatter’s Garden Party Theme by arriving at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa wearing not only their finest shoes, but also sporting festive hats and fascinators. The hotel’s ballroom level was transformed into an Alice in Wonderland fairytale world filled with curious wonder.
As is tradition, the festive weekend kicked off on Friday, Feb. 17 with a stellar series of seven sold out Vintner Dinners. This year’s “celebrity” chefs and winery pairings included Nikhil Abuvala of Roux 30A with St. Helena Winery; Jack McGuckin of Bijoux with Eric Kent Wine Cellars; Dan Vargo of Seagar’s with Blackbird Vineyards; Kevin Korman of Roselie, paired with Silver Trident Winery; Chris Holbrook of 30A Signature Catering with Ancien; Jim Richard of Stinky’s Fish Camp and Trebeaché with Sanglier Cellars and Amy Miller of The Henderson with Hourglass, featuring this year’s honorary winery.
The fun factor stepped up on Saturday, Feb. 18 with Bubbles, Brews & Culinary Qs, a new event presented by Smileology. Held in the Coastal Ballroom at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, 400 guests sipped sparkling wines at the Bubbles Bar, locally crafted micro brews and ales by Grayton Beer Company, and tucked into delicious barbecue-inspired light bites while enjoying live music performed by funky bluesy fusion local favorite Dread Clampitt.
On Sunday, Feb. 19 “sole sisters” and “sole mates” again kicked up their heels on the ballroom level of the Hilton during the Signature Event, presented with support from Dermatology Specialists of Florida and Aqua Med Spa. The lively event — filled with wine and food tastings, retail shopping and live music performances — centered on a high-energy fashion show by Today’s Boutique and crescendoed with an exciting live auction of high-end lots of reserve wine, artful excursions to see “Hamilton” on Broadway and Bruno Mars live in Madison Square Gardens, luxury travel trips to Napa Valley and more.
The sole mates stepped up to give Debbie Landers the “Best in Shoe” award and in keeping with the “Mad Hatter” theme the Wine Women & Shoes committee gave the nod to Julia Holmes who won “Best Hat.”
The Sole Sister Society, an honorary committee of Wine Women & Shoes that supports Sinfonia Gulf Coast, welcomed several new members this year, who each donated $500 to join. As part of their membership, they were treated to several Wine Women & Shoes events including an exclusive first-ever designer party to preview the new spring line of Jimmy Choo shoes and accessories. On March 1 Jimmy Choo associates from New York, Las Vegas and Altanta traveled to the Emerald Coast to recreate a Jimmy Choo boutique in a private waterfront home in Destin. About 50 Sole Sister Society members sipped Ancien wines and light bites by Roux 30A in between trying on the latest shoes of the 2017 season. Jimmy Choo donated a portion of the sales proceeds to Sinfonia Gulf Coast.
“The continued success of Sinfonia’s Wine Women & Shoes series of events is a direct reflection of the amazingly generous community of patrons, sponsors, volunteers, vintners, chefs and retailers that come together to help support our mission in the community, “ said Sinfonia Gulf Coast Music Director Demetrius Fuller. “Wine Women & Shoes has enabled Sinfonia Gulf Coast to expand the capacity of its music education initiatives throughout Okaloosa and Walton Counties by over 400 percent since 2013." 
Wine Women & Shoes was made possible by the generous support of local businesses including the following presenting sponsors: Krueger, Fosdyck & Associates of Merrill Lynch, The Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, Cox Communications, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, and Visit South Walton.
To put your best foot forward and join Wine Women & Shoes Sole Sister Society and/or Sinfonia’s team of volunteers for the event in 2018, contact Elaine Tucker at (850) 460-8800.
For more information on Sinfonia Gulf Coast visit, call (850) 460-8800 or e-mail
Follow this link to images of Wine Women & Shoes 2017       
Sinfonia Gulf Coast was founded in 2005 on Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast with the mission of redefining the symphony experience. Under the guidance of founder and Music Director Demetrius Fuller and a dedicated board of directors, the nonprofit orchestra is in its 11th season of innovative musical programming, designed to entertain, educate and inspire the community.
Since it’s founding, Sinfonia Gulf Coast has presented more than 430 concerts and events, has collaborated with numerous nonprofits and businesses throughout the community and has reached more than 100,000 children through its Sinfonia Guest Artists in the Schools program/music education outreach initiatives. For more information on Sinfonia Gulf Coast, visit, call (850) 460-8800 or e-mail
Wine Women & Shoes is a multi-day annual fundraising event hosted by Sinfonia Gulf Coast. Proceeds from this event benefit Sinfonia’s music education programs. Wine Women & Shoes is one of the fastest-growing event series in the country. Elaine Honig, a scion of the prominent California wine producing family, created the event, which was inspired by the classic country ballad “Wine, Women and Song.” Now in its 11th year, the WW&S team has produced more than 220 events, which have helped raise more than $37 million for various non-profits across the country.
Zandra Wolfgram, (850) 218-8805